Ideal 10 Dribblers In History: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Zinedine Zidane & Man United Legend Make The Reduce

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Lionel Messi BarcelonaDo you agree with our list of the definitive top 10 dribblers EVER…

CaughtOffside counts down the ten greatest dribblers in history, including Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Manchester United legend George Best. Flick through the list below to see if your favourite makes the list. If you’d like to suggest someone who was left out, feel free to comment below!

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10) Stanley Matthews

Soccer - Home International Championship - Scotland v England

Matthews was so well known for his great dribbling skills that he gained the nickname “the wizard of dribble”. The iconic star had great balance and a near perfect sense of timing. Pele once said Matthews was “the man who taught us the way football should be played.”.

9) Ronaldinho

Ronaldinho Barcelona

The Brazilian brought a freestyle magic to the game, particularly in his Barcelona days. One of his famous moves was of course the elastico, where he would fool a defender by pushing the ball sideways before suddenly pulling it back to the other side.

8) Zinedine Zidane


Arguably the player with the best ball control of all time (but unfortunately we didn’t make a list for that). He also got his own trick move named after him, the “Zidane Roulette” – a 360 degree turn he perfected and used most effectively on a number of hapless defenders.

7) Ronaldo

Ronaldo Lima Real Madrid

Ronaldo made a habit of amazing solo runs, where he would slalom through the opposition’s back line, passing several defenders and finally beating the keeper and scoring a goal. He also loved a step over (or ten), with his performance against Ghana at the 2006 World Cup the perfect exhibition of his skills.

6) Pele


We’ve already named him the best forward of all time, but the Brazilian has to settle for sixth here. Pele often looks as if the ball is stuck to his shoe in old footage, and he certainly scored his fair share of goals with incredible long runs from the midfield.

5) George Best

Soccer - Football League Division One - Manchester United v Fulham

Best mainly used his right foot to cut away from defenders, creating space in which he would continue his dribble. By using the inside and outside of the foot he allowed himself to quickly change direction or dodge tackles. His skills make him one of Man United’s best ever players.

4) Johan Cruyff

Cruyff Turn

Cruyff had the ability to see the weak spots in a defense, he would see a gap and suddenly accelerate into it and make his way to the penalty area. He was also, suitably enough, the creator of “The Cruyff turn”. In this move he would look like passing the ball to his teammate, but instead of kicking he would drag the ball behind his planted foot with the inside of his other foot, turn 90 degrees and accelerate away from the defender.

3) Garrincha

Soccer World Cup England 1966

Garrincha was well-known for his standard play: threatening inside but then suddenly going outside with fast acceleration. He did this move multiple times in a match and defenders would seemingly always fall for it. He won the World Cup twice and Brazil never lost a game with both Pele and Garrincha in the team.

2) Lionel Messi


Another close control specialist, Messi’s sudden changes of direction have become iconic over the last decade, and have helped him become one of the greatest players of all time. His exquisite ball control has allowed him to squirm his way through defences across the world, no matter how they try and stop him.

1) Diego Maradona

Soccer - World Cup Mexico 86 - Group A - Argentina v Italy

Maradona could get past defenders with ease, he would use body feints to fool a defender into believing exactly the opposite of what he was actually going to do. He would suddenly change direction when the defender was expecting him to go the other way, making him a master of the “Gambetta” dribbling style, the most prime example of which is his second goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final.

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